We had the good fortune of connecting with Elisa Fontanillas and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Elisa, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I started by taking headshots and capturing the productions of my High Schools drama club in my junior year of high school. At the time, I didn’t think too much of the work that I was doing other than that I loved holding a camera and bringing an artistic lens to a technical art. Soon enough, this pastime snowballed into more work, practice, and consistency. I started to think about how this pathway could potentially turn into a viable business that people would take part of, and I then officially launched Festiva Studios in 2019, the summer before my senior year. Although I grew slowly at first, since starting my degree at the University of Georgia in Athens, I’ve had the opportunity to delve more into senior and grad photos, event photography, and creative photography.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
As a photographer I’ve explored various avenues of styles, and have settled upon my love of photographing people who love bright, colorful and vibrant photographs. My style absolutely emulates life and color, and I’ve come across photographing people in the most creative editorial settings, to grad photos, to photos of people cheering their heads off in support of their school. Whether the people I capture are posed or off guard, the thing that matters the most is that my subject is comfortable with me as a photographer, and that their true selves shine through my lens and in the final photo.
I’ve learned so much in the last few years since starting at the University of Georgia. Coming to a new environment really allowed me to grow as a photographer by being faced with so many different opportunities, as well as the chance to grow my network. I have loved every second of growing my business, and I know that there is still so much more for me to do! Photography is a great industry because it gives you the chance to meet individuals in all walks of life, and I so look forward to continuing to do so. There is beauty in the fact that i’m always learning in my abilities and strategies, life isn’t stagnant. I look forward to expanding my client base in the University of Georgia community, and with this interview, growing the people that know me from Atlanta!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Atlanta is such a vibrant city, and on the first day you just have to stop by the High Museum, where you absolutely have to spend half of the day there. You wash down the feelings of the High by having a late lunch at Cafe Intermezzo, a quick walk through Midtown where you can people watch passerby through the windows of this adorable cafe.
The following day is going to be a comprehensive outdoor day, where you should ride scooters or bikes down the Beltline, and stop by Ponce City Market for lunch and some shopping. You have to continue down the line all the way to Piedmont Park to have a lovely walk around the park, have a cute picnic dinner, and watch the sunset featuring the Atlanta Skyline.
Third day is where you go to the Atlanta Historical Center, a new favorite of mine, and stop by the Swan House, where you absolutely have to mention that the Hunger Games was partially filmed there. That evening, end your day in Buckhead dining at the Velvet Taco and maybe catch a concert at Buckhead Theatre.
Day four calls for some time on the WestSide of Atlanta, and you have to start by the SCAD FASH Museum before heading over to Westside Provisions to walk around with some Jenis ice cream and enjoying some late lunch at Flower Child. Enjoy some evening activities at Fowling Warehouse Atlanta, where you can tryout fowling, a combination of bowling and football.
Day five, your final day, should be spent doing some vintage shopping in Little Five Points. Stop by The Clothing Warehouse for all of your thrifting and vintage clothing needs, as well as the Junkman’s Daughter. For some food, stop by The Vortex and end your day with an afternoon at the Atlanta Botanical Garden.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Not to be cheesy, but I definitely want to shoutout my family and friends at home. They have supported me through the years of growing my business, and encourage all of my crazy ideas that make me fuel my passion for creativity. Most importantly, my parents are the ones that ultimately kickstarted my photography. They gifted me my first professional camera when I graduated high school, a gift that I cannot thank them enough for because it has really brought me to where I am today!
Personal Headshot done by Stephanie Lopez Photography